run time: 96 mins
considered: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
director: Carlos Saldanha
starring: Leslie Mann, Jesse Eisenberg, Rodrigo Santoro, Jamie Foxx, Will i Am, Anne Hathaway, Jemaine Clement, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jake T. Austin
movie summary: A rare blue macaw named Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) travels from his cold winter home in upstate Minnesota to Rio de Janeiro where he will be matched up with a female macaw, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), in attempt to save their species. The pair are kidnapped from the laboratory and will go on a wild crazy adventure through the streets of Rio to escape a group of ruthless bird snatchers in an attempt to return home safely.
Linda (Leslie Mann) is a young girl when she stumbles across Blu freezing in a snowbank after falling off a truck full of kidnapped exotic birds. She adopts him and opens a bookstore with her favourite bird when she grows up. One day a stumbling exotic bird expert Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) comes into the store to see Blu. He is amazed that he has finally found a male macaw to mate with his female one. He explains his job to Linda who isn’t keen on him examining her bird. He offers to have them fly to Rio de Janeiro where Blu can meet his other prize bird Jewel. Linda and Blu are very reluctant at first but agree to make the trip.
When the pair touchdown in Rio, they are impressed with how beautiful the city is. Blu gets made fun of by some of the local birds, Pedro (Will i Am) and Nico (Jamie Foxx), for being locked in a traveling case and having sunscreen on his beak. Blu explains he is a domestic bird, that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be free like them, and enjoys his quiet and peaceful life very much. They mock him some more before flying away, leaving Linda, Tulio, and Blu to drive to the laboratory. Blu is tossed into a manmade wilderness where he meets Jewel who is busy trying to escape. She thinks Blu was sent in to help her but once she realizes he’s useless she goes back to trying to get out. Blu attempts to be charming and funny but fails miserably. He is domestic bird with no real bird experience while Jewel is a free spirit, their contradicting personalities don’t make them a match right off. Linda and Tulio leave the birds alone to bond and go out to dinner, little do they know the security guard is about to be drugged and their precious macaws are going to be kidnapped.
A little boy named Fernando (Jake T. Austin) is going to be aided by an evil bird named Nigel (Jemaine Clement) on this bird heist. They bring Blu and Jewel to the bird snatchers place where Blu is able to pick the lock on the cage and they escape. Their only problem is they are chained together and Blu can’t fly. Jewel tries to drag him along but she is not able to handle it. They manage to run away on their feet with Nigel in hot pursuit. After the pair manage to reach safety they meet Rafael (George Lopez) who offers to help them get out of their chains. He knows a guy named Luiz (Tracy Morgan) who can help break the chains and set them free. On the journey, by street car, to Luiz’s garage they meet up with Pedro and Nico again who are on the way to a dance party. All the birds get together for a celebration before Nigel crashes the party and causes a huge brawl to break out. Blu, Jewel, Rafael, Pedro, and Nico all escape and make it to Luiz’s.
Linda and Tulio are enjoying a nice candle light dinner and are falling in love with each other before they find out the macaws are gone. They spend the next few days looking all over Rio for their precious birds while their birds are trying to get themselves free and find them. Fernando shows up and confesses that he stole the birds and offers to help find them. The three of them embark on an adventure across the busy streets of Rio only to end in the middle of the biggest parade of the year, Carnaval.
Blu and Jewel manage to get out of their handcuffs at Luiz’s before Jewel is kidnapped again by Nigel. Blu knows he is not capable of rescuing her and after every scary thing he’s experienced in Rio, just wants to return home to Linda. Rafael, Pedro, and Nico all call him a coward, before Rafael tells him that Jewel could be the love of his life and that he has to stop being a wimp and go get her. The group of birds head to Carnaval and the grand parade where Blu crosses paths with Linda. He decides to continue on with his mission to save Jewel and the rest trapped birds. Blu and the gang chase down the float that the smugglers have designed as a decoy to cross the city in their attempt to get to the airport. When everyone reaches the airport, Blu will need the help of Linda, Tulio, and Fernando to chase down the plane before it takes off.
my thoughts: Rio is by far one of the best animated movies that has been released over the last few years. It has everything anyone going to the movies would love, it’s got a creative storyline, crazy characters, and many laugh out loud moments. The chemistry of the birds is amazing both on screen and with their celebrity voices. Jesse Eisenberg is hilarious as a bird who has no real life experiences, while his counterpart, voiced by Anne Hathaway, brings her sarcastic tone to their odd pairing. They meet some other wild and crazy birds that turn their adventure of becoming free into an epic journey of self discovery and true love.
My favourite part of the movie is when Jewel is trying to explain to Rafael that Blu can’t fly. Poor Blu just sits there and takes the insults like a champ even though Rafael tries his best to teach Blu how to fly by throwing him off a cliff. Of course the attempt to fly situation ends in an hilarious disaster. There are many more moments and one-liners to list here but those would take away from the rest of the movie and how great it is. The quality of animation and scenery of Rio de Janeiro is simply breathtaking, which shows us the brighter side of Rio despite it’s rather shady worldwide reputation.
If you haven’t had a chance to see Rio yet, it is on Netflix. Grab the kids, pop some popcorn, sit back and get ready to laugh out loud. You will not be disappointed in any way with Rio which will get you prepared for Rio 2 that hits theatres today April 11!
my star rating: 9 out 10